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They also serve...

Posted by R. Berg on May 19, 2006

In Reply to: He also serves who stands and waits posted by Smokey Stover on May 18, 2006

: : : : I wonder if anyone knows the origin and correct version of "He also serves, who stands and cooks". I have been told that it is "He also serves who stands and waits".

: : : : I thought it was an expression from the First World War but I am told it is from the Second World War.

: : : : Does anyone know which is correct and its origin.

: : : "They also serve who only stand and wait", is a line from Milton's Sonnet 26, 1673, and that's the origin.

: : : It was used in both WWI and WWII; referring to the wives/mothers/friends who waited for their loved ones to come home.

: : : The "only stands and cooks" line is a rather feeble pun - deriving from the 'one who serves and waits' being a waiter in a restaurant.

: : It has also been adapted as "WE ALSO SERVE" for the motto of the Dickin medal, known as "the animals' Victoria Cross", instituted in 1943 (another WWII connection) and awarded to animals that have shown gallantry and devotion to duty in war. It has been awarded to carrier pigeons, dogs, horses, and at least one cat. It is a British decoration but has awarded to animals of many other nationalities, including most recently several dogs involved in the destruction of the World Trade center in 2001.

: I remain in awe at the breadth and depth of Victoria's knowledge, but perhaps she might wish to rethink the phrasing of her last sentence. It seems to say that a) the World Trace Center was destroyed in 2001, and b) that several dogs contributed to the destruction. What a thought! SS

The WTC *was* destroyed in 2001. The verb "involve," as I'm sure you know, is so versatile it has hardly any boundaries. ~rb